Yogi Bear Directed by: Eric Brevig Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Tom Cavanagh, Anna Faris, TJ Miller, Nate Corddry, Andrew Daly Running Time: 1 hr 23 mins Rating: PG Release Date: December 17, 2010
PLOT: When their homeland of Jellystone National Park is threatened by a mayor with plans to destroy the forest, two picnic-raiding bears (voiced by Aykroyd and Timberlake) work with a bumbling park ranger (Cavanagh) to save the day.
WHO'S IT FOR? Parents looking for a simple distraction for their kids will not get their money’s worth – the running time of the actual film is 78 minutes (a trip to Wal-Mart would probably take longer). Adults, say “No!” to your children should they walk up to you with movie show times and bearskin in hand. Yogi Bear would be a better way to punish your kids than entertain them.
EXPECTATIONS: The character of Yogi Bear isn’t exactly everyone’s immediate pick for a live-action movie, but there’s always potential for a good script, or at least some amusing gags. Hopefully, the writers would ease off on the bear puns.
Dan Aykroyd as Yogi Bear: It's like Aykroyd has the tone for Yogi, but not the accent. Especially compared to how the voice was done in the original Hanna Barbera cartoon, with a slight urban-toughness to him, this just comes off as a poor impersonation. Aykroyd should have saved it for his Ghostbusters 3 script meetings. Score: 2
Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo: The tamer of the two, Boo-Boo constantly sounds like he's bummed out, even before Yogi has made him an accomplice in some harmful stunt. Timberlake's vocal work makes Boo-Boo out to be a thief who should be stealing Zoloft from picnickers, not food. And if I may throw in two cents - This is what exactly what Timberlake’s career doesn’t need. Not only could this temporarily stunt his rise towards being a serious actor, (say “good bye” to that wishful “Best Supporting Actor” nom, Justin), but the former boy band singer did work on his vocal cords back in 2005 to sound “more manly.” While I will cherish my Yogi Bear collector's cup with “Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo" printed on the side, it will be at his expense. Score: 2
Rest of Cast: As the plain Ranger Smith, Cavanagh has a charm (or lack thereof) similar to John Travolta in his latest PG-rated Disney family comedies. Anna Faris tries to make her character dumber than the entirety of Yogi Bear and loses. Nate Corddry plays the mayor's assistant, and fails at copying the same wacky charisma that has made his older brother Rob so popular with wide audiences. Score: 3
TALKING: A voice that sounds strangely similar to Morgan Freeman is used for simple narration that book ends the movie, despite it being unclear of whether it's actually meant to sound like everyone's favorite voice. (If it is, chalk it up as another tired joke in Yogi Bear). Thankfully, the script does not make bear puns a priority. Unfortunately, clever dialogue is not one either. Score: 3
SIGHTS: For cartoon characters existing in a visual world similar to ours, the animation of the two bears is fine. The 3D is rendered completely unnecessary by its post-production feel, and the "in your face" gags are slim in amount and minimal on worth. If you must insist on seeing Yogi Bear, don't pay to see it in 3D. Hitting the quota of any animated movie, the bears dance at least twice. Joy. Score: 4
SOUNDS:The score is mischievous, and insignificant. The Yogi Bear soundtrack comes with a generic selection of now “novelty” tunes, like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” or Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “I Like Big Butts.” Yogi Bear weakly creates entire gags that seem to revolve around popular themes, like John Williams’ theme from “Superman,” the “William Tell” overture, or even Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” Weird Al Yankovic’s “Lasagna” makes an all too brief appearance in the film, while “Lost”-fanatics Weezer contribute a slice of crunchy pop, “My Best Friend,” that plays the audience off as they leave the theater. Because the sound designers must have not been happy with their pay, they troll the film briefly by having Yogi let out an incredibly stock, unbelievably random "Wilhelm Scream." Score: 3
BEST SCENE: I laughed when the fireworks mishap looked more like Iwo Jima mid-war than it did a national park festival.
ENDING: It's not a cartoon character movie until a line like "Yooooogiiii!!" is said. And what a way to hint at a sequel.
QUESTIONS: What the hell kind of relationship do Boo-boo and Yogi have? Wikipedia wisely calls it “unconfirmed.”
REWATCHABILITY: No. Instead, I’d rather watch footage of Justin Timberlake doing his voice-over work as he dabs the tears of shame in his eyes with hundred dollar bills.
Snatching up picnic baskets is old hat for Yogi Bear, so he’s got his grubby paws on something different. Using “3D” as his latest con, the sharply dressed bear now has his eye on taking the money of movie-goers, and much like his basket stealing ethics, he does not give the wronged anything back in return.
Dumber than your average sh*tty family comedy, Yogi Bear is an effortless compilation of tired gags thrown together by writers very eager to finish this script and move onto something less depressing. If you blink during Yogi Bear, you’ll miss bits of the story as the movies rushes to and then through its laugh-less moments of witless wackiness, while including some unpleasant flashbacks of Furry Vengeance. Stubborn with its stupidity and general worthlessness, the aggressively abysmal Yogi Bear is bound to rape and pillage the wallets of parents, those who will find out only too late that this trap is “The Longest Five Minute Movie Ever.”
FINAL SCORE: 2/10